Another Pennine day5th February 2007
The sunny weekend tempted me into the outdoors after something of a hiatus; January did not offer much in terms of dry sunny hillwalking weather at the weekends though I did get out around Chirk and Llangollen on what was a fine mild Sunday in the middle of the month. In fact, only for the fact that I had a driving lesson on last Saturday (it has finally happened after talking about it for what seems an eternity), I might have gone off for the whole weekend but I really have to get that skill under my belt.
Therefore, with Saturday sadly out of the picture (it was a smashing day for learning to drive, even if the sun caused some glare), I needed to decide what to do on Sunday. Thankfully, the crisp fine weather stayed with us and I headed off into the South Pennines for a day in the hills. After a bus ride into Manchester, I took the Metrolink to Victoria station, from where I caught a train to Hebden Bridge. From there, I picked up the Pennine Bridleway and that took me on to Stoodley Pike and the Pennine Way. Once on the Pennine Way, I continued south until I met another section of the Pennine Bridleway that took towards Littleborough and Smithy Bridge. By some strange navigation (it was dusk at the time, after all), I managed to get to Smithy Bridge train station rather than the one in Littleborough. That gave me a few more minutes than I would otherwise have had, a very welcome commodity when making a train after a long walk. Nevertheless, brushing up on my low light navigation skills is required.
And what of the walking itself? The day was one spent in a wild, somewhat industrialised, moorland criss-crossed by a plethora of bridleways and footpaths in pleasant sunshine. Good paths ensured that heavy going was not encountered for as long as it otherwise have been. That allowed steady progress without recourse to the opportunities for route shortening allowed by the populous Calderdale (or is Caldervale?) valley, a consequence of the area’s industrial past. The Stoodley Pike Monument, a memorial to the Napoleonic wars, dominated the skyline for a lot of the walk and provided a useful focal point for my photographic efforts. After that, it was onto walking around reservoirs on the approach to the White House pub. Once across the road, I picked up an old Roman road forming part of the Rochdale Way. Cobbles are visible today, though I am unsure of their antiquity. That path led me to another part of the Pennine Bridleway before I continued towards a golf clubhouse, where confusing navigation got me worried for a while, before the reassuring sight of another reservoir told me that I was on the right track.
In summary, I got to walk another part of the Pennine Way. Heading from Littleborough to Marsden along another section of it is a very tempting proposition for a Sunday stroll. And so is heading north from Hebden Bridge but I will need to see where that might take me so that I can make it another day walk. It looks as if my Pennine Way explorations are continuing.
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